Here’s an interesting article from Open Culture that popped up on my FB via The Bass Guitar. As the title suggests, it lists influential female bassists who had a hand in defining the sounds of previous decades. Some of them are more famous that others, and some are more known to musicians and bassists, in particular, than the general public (i.e., Carol Kaye & Meshell Ndegeocello).
Heavier music, like metal, isn’t really mentioned at all – so Sean Yseult from White Zombie doesn’t make the list, and my personal favorite female metal bassist – Jo Bench, from Bolt Thrower, naturally isn’t on here either.
This is great. 😉
I was reading a thread on Talkbass while eating in which the original poster asked for advice on constructing bass lines. He wants to be able to create something that infuses the sounds of Les Claypool and Geddy Lee. He’s gotten a lot of advice so far, but what caught my eye as I was munching is a video from Bobby McFerrin, who back in the 80s released that all-vocal song, Don’t Worry, Be Happy.
I never cared for the song – probably on account of me being in my early teens and not being happy – but I can’t discredit him for being talented and working with a wide range of accomplished musicians. I’m also curious now about how our toddler would take to it – she’s been making a lot of interesting noises and plays a game where we have to imitate her sounds, pretty much every day. Wifey laughed just last night about how much it sounds like Mandarin.
Anyway, here’s a video from McFerrin that illustrates audience participation using the pentatonic scale. Its a scale that’s always intrigued me. I remember reading about how its considered a sort of universal scale. Cultures all over the world make use of its 5 tones, from aboriginal people to Native Americans to various African and European people everywhere.
Its been 7 weeks since I either assaulted or delighted your eyes with another menagerie of strange basses, and they haven’t gotten any less strange since last time.
Here’s a link to the older galleries too:
You know there’s more.
I came across this earlier today in the For Bass Players Only Discussion group on FB. Its a glossary of words – some of which are slang – used by musicians and compiled by Steve Witschel back in January of this year. The comments have a ton of other words and phrases. If you’re not around musicians often, or are but hear a different language when they speak, give this the once-over.
Here’s an interesting article from No Treble by Damian Erskine about learning and practicing notes via scale degrees and chord progressions. I haven’t done much of this at all, but one thing is really interesting to me. Towards the end, he mentions playing progressions like 3-4-5-7 instead of starting on the root. Its definitely different from anything I’ve practiced in the past, and actually sounds like it would be a mental workout for someone on my level, because you’d have to find the root and then reach for either the major or minor 3rd right off the bat, instead of anchoring yourself on the 1.
I need to make time and pick up my bass and work through stuff like this.
Also, he’s asked about memorizing notes on the fretboard and says that he didn’t truly memorize them until he learned to read. I can attest that in the time I spent working through the Hal Leonard book, I was definitely learning where the notes on the neck were, 3 or 4 notes at a time. Seeing notation on paper (or a screen) and then having to find a note on the neck by name really does something to cement them into memory.
It also makes me think again about how people refer to the first 4 frets as the “money frets” for bass. I don’t think its just because we get the lowest tones there. I think its also because we can basically find every note there and due to that, I’m sure some people never travel higher up the neck to add higher instances of the same notes to their arsenal.